Lagniappe (lan-yap) - an unexpected benefit, something given gratuitously.
I like this word. It is normally used in the context of a merchant giving a customer something extra, a little gift, at the time of purchase. Merchants don't do much of that these days. Oh they'll offer you 10% off your next purchase of Old Spice or the opportunity to buy the dancing Santa for $5 or something like that...but rarely do you see the pure lagniappe.
But I like this word. I believe its a Christmas word.
We're putting up the tree at the Dirty Shame today, no doubt stringing some colored lights around the windows, and our traditional wreath will find its way to the front door. And on the sandwich board which usually describes the soup de jour, I'm writing that word I like, that Christmas word, lagniappe.
I hope you'll put some change in the red buckets which swing to the rhythm of the Salvation Army bells. If you don't have any in your pocket, I hope you'll run back to the car and search the cushions like some breathless widow sweeping the house for her lost coin. I hope you'll consider sponsoring a child from Compassion - www.compassion.com or supporting the work among orphans through organizations like Children's HopeChest - www.hopechest.org . I hope you'll take the time to read/ponder the subversive beauty of the Advent Conspiracy - www.adventconspiracy.org and Christmas Change - www.ChristmasChange.com.
I also hope you'll remember, from time to time, the soup de jour or de month at the Dirty Shame - lagniappe. And as you move in and out of the lives of flesh and blood, be it family or strangers or friends or enemies or co-workers or bosses or folks beside you in traffic or children, especially children, I hope you'll give a small gift, an unexpected benefit to these darkened days. What are these small gifts, John?
Drumroll please? Courtesies. There you have it friends. Common courtesies which are not so common anymore, so when you see them or hear them or feel them, you pause to catch your breath or wonder why? In the words of Father Robert Capon - "We come at each other as casually as we approach watermelons. We hold each other in careless, calloused hands." I know courting is usually associated with romantic love, but there is a courting dance we do with one another, courtly gestures that have the ability to raise someone's spirit or brighten their day or encourage them to keep going a little further or remind them of their worth in the eyes of the God who is big but made himself small so as to dwell among us. Have you ever thought about God being courteous toward mankind?
The lagniappe of courtesy. That phase won't make for a very hip website, but it might make the difference in someone's day or life...